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No-show is a no-go at the Board of Adjustment

Tuesday, February 10, 2015 by Elizabeth Pagano

The Board of Adjustment extended no favors to an East Cesar Chavez homeowner who failed to appear at its Monday night meeting. Instead, the board quickly voted against her request for a greater floor-to-area ratio than the McMansion Ordinance allows.

Homeowner Amanda Ferrier was seeking a variance from Subchapter F of the city code for her house at 1303 East Second St. Ferrier hoped to increase the floor-to-area ratio from 0.4 to 1.0 in order to add a second story to the existing structure.

The board voted to deny the variance, with only Board Member Melissa Hawthorne objecting to the denial.

Board Member Michael Von Ohlen said that he was willing to hear the case, but given the absence of the person seeking the variance and the presence of those objecting, he made a motion to deny the variance instead.

Planning and Development Review Department staff liaison Leane Heldenfels told the board that she had reached out to Ferrier, but had not heard back.

Pamela Colloff, who lives next door to Ferrier, wrote a letter to the board explaining her opposition. She wrote that the variance would change the streetscape of an “otherwise historically intact block.” The house that currently sits on the lot is almost 100 years old.

It would also impact Colloff directly, she said, because it would allow Ferrier to move forward with construction that would create a “shear 2-story wall” just 14 feet from her house.

“This would affect us in a profound way,” wrote Colloff, who said the plans could diminish or block natural light in her kitchen, dining room and living room. Colloff pointed out that, if allowed, the house would be the second two-story structure on the lot, which is 6,555 square feet in size.

Representatives of the East Cesar Chavez Neighborhood Planning Team also opposed the variance.

Ferrier can ask for reconsideration of the decision if she can provide new information to the board within the next 10 days. She also has the option of pursuing a similar variance through the Residential Design and Compatibility Commission.

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